Monday

21st Jan 2019

Dutch Liberal loses out on committee post for being too pro-EU

  • Rene Leegte, until Thursday deputy chairperson of the European affairs committee in the Netherlands. (Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg)

The Dutch Liberal party has nominated a relative EU novice to chair the European affairs committee in the lower house of the Dutch parliament, abandoning a more experienced candidate who is said to be too pro-European for the cente-right party.

Liberal Malik Azmani, the party's spokesperson on immigration, asylum and integration was elected Thursday afternoon (13 November) as chairperson of the committee.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The post became vacant after Christian-Democrat Raymond Knops decided to step down.

Political parties arrange among themselves which party chairs what committee.

According to Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, Knops had wanted Liberal Rene Leegte to succeed him, who until Thursday was the committee's deputy chairman.

It was agreed the two political parties would switch: the Liberals would get the committee's chair, the Christian-Democrats the deputy chair.

However, on Saturday NRC Handelsblad reported that the Liberal party would rather nominate Azmani, because Leegte was too pro-European.

Because of the switch, Leegte not only missed his party's endorsement for the position of chairman, he also lost his deputy chairmanship.

When it came to the vote, Azmani received only six of the twelve votes. Four went to Leegte and there were two abstentions.

In comparison, the new deputy chairperson, who was also elected Thursday afternoon, received all twelve votes.

After Knops handed over the gavel to Azmani, the new chairperson remarked: “I am very happy that a majority of this committee has confidence in me as chairperson. I will prove that that confidence will not be damaged.”

The Liberal party, to which prime minister Mark Rutte belongs, is much more critical of European integration than their coalition party Labour.

Paul Weber, spokesperson for the Liberals in the lower house, would not comment on why Azmani was chosen over Leegte, because it is an "internal matter".

A socialist member of the committee, Harry van Bommel, said he would have liked Leegte as chairman. "Europe is a complex subject and Leegte has the expertise", he said.

In May this year, Leegte published a report title Ahead in Europe, in which he suggested the Dutch House of Representatives should be more involved in the European decision-making process.

Focus

Wilders' party suffers blow, according to exit poll

Geert Wilders Freedom Party lost almost five percent of its votes compared to 2009 while the pro-EU D66 emerged at the top, according to exit polls for the EU vote in the Netherlands.

MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment

The EU parliament's internal chiefs have so far refused to introduce mandatory training on dealing with sexual harassment. MEPs have now asked for it again.

Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret

A number of centre-right MEPs are pushing for a secret ballot on a plenary vote that would make EU lawmakers more transparent and accountable to the public - in a move described as "absurd" by Transparency International.

News in Brief

  1. Germany sent 8,658 asylum-seekers to other EU states
  2. Poll: Macron popularity up four percent
  3. 'Economy is broken' says Oxfam in global inequality report
  4. Vestager under pressure to allow Siemens-Alstom deal
  5. Teargas and clashes in Athens over Macedonia name change
  6. EU trade commissioner asks for green light for US talks
  7. Slovakia's commissioner takes unpaid leave to run for presidency
  8. Minority elects Lofven as prime minister of Sweden

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us